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Press Release

Two Armed Defendants Charged in Connection with Marijuana Manufacturing Grow Site in Mendocino National Forest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Gregorio Moreno-Valencia, 26, and Alexandro Ayala-Acosta, 45, charging them in connection with a marijuana grow operation in the Mendocino National Forest in Tehama County, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, and the depredation of United States property, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, law enforcement personnel arrested both defendants on August 27, 2018. Moreno-Valencia was armed with a Colt .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol and Ayala-Acosta was armed with a Mossberg short-barrel 12 gauge pump shotgun.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, Tehama County Sheriff’s Department, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, California National Guard, and California Department of Justice.

If convicted of the marijuana counts, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years up to a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The maximum penalty for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes is a mandatory consecutive five years to life in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for possession of a short-barrel shotgun in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes is a mandatory consecutive 10 years to life sentence and a fine of $250,000. If convicted of depredation against United States property, each defendant faces a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated September 27, 2018

Drug Trafficking